Road trip and hiking in Austria

Road trip and hiking in Austria

Alpine Road.Like most people, I always assumed that Austria is a usual destination for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. But the second I laid my eyes on the first mountain view I fell in love with this country straight away and it kept exciting me more and more on this short but very memorable journey. Although, the pictures will never do the justice to the greatness of the mountains I tried my best to encapsulate those views for you. Without further due, here are some highlights from my trip to Austria.

Day 1 :Krimml Waterfall

Let me tell you, the Krimml Falls have to be seen and heard to be believed. The strength of the water is so raw and mesmerising you can’t help yourself to get as close as possible. The sheer power of water cascading down is phenomenal and the closer you get to the fall the wetter you get.

Krimml offers amazing opportunities for both amateur and professional hikers. The trails that will take you days and days to explore, with numerous huts and inns located in the mountains. This is the perfect first stop when visiting Austria.

For my hike, I’ve chosen to conquer the highest waterfall in Europe by following the steep zig zag trail trough the forest which took me all the way to the top of the waterfall. Although, exhausted the sense of achievement felt great so I continued walking along a plateau between two valleys which  provided with breathtaking views. Altogether, it took us 5 hours to go up and back down the mountain with our lunch break and multiple stops to take pictures in between.

Quick disclaimer: assess your physical ability before the hike. Ask for advice from staff working on site who are very helpful.

Krimmlwaterfall

 

Day 2 :Pinzgauer hiking trail

After Krimml we were so hyped, we were aching to explore more. So for our next stop we have chosen Kitzbühel mountain range. We took a cable car to Shmittenhohe, which is located  2000m above sea level and provides with stunning panoramas of  The Alps. There are numerous walks in the area and you can choose from an hour long hike to 5-6 hours. We decided straight away that we should  follow the famous Pinzgauer route, which offers you the best views on all of the surrounding mountains.

Despite being a very popular destination, most of the time you feel like the only hikers around. It only changes when you reach one of the huts which are dotted around the mountain landscape. There you can enjoy a refreshing beverage with locals and fellow hikers. All in all, it was a super fun day full of the sunshine and (you probably have guessed already) full of amazing panoramas.

That night we were staying next to  Zell am See lake, where we had quite stroll. I strongly recommend visiting Crazy Daisy restaurant as it was suggested to us by one of the locals.  After such a physically demanding day a plate of ribs is what you need (wink wink).

Pinzgauer Cows

Day 3 :Alpine High Road

It is the most scenic road that I have ever done and if you are travelling by car it is an absolute must. The views at every turn, literally every turn, are jaw-dropping and at the very end you are rewarded with a magnificent view of the highest peak in Austria – Grossglockner and glacier Pasterze. Trust me when I say it it is truly an amazing feeling to be among Alpen monsters and  should definitely go on your bucket list.

We were extremely lucky with the weather as it is always cloudier and colder up in the mountains, but the temperature did not drop lower than 13 degrees ( considering it was 25C on the bottom) and the sun was shining almost entire road trip. Needless to say, there are numerous stops to take a break, go for a small hike or have a picnic. Each and every on of these stops offers unique instapicture of the Alps. Be sure to turn to Edelweiss where you will enjoy a magnificent view from the highest point on the Alpen Road ( 2500m).

If you are like me and enjoy the dramatic scenery – and are not afraid of heights then this is definitely for you. I guess the experience is largely defined by how busy the road is but we went mid-afternoon on a sunny day in September and it was always free flowing.

Tip-take care of your car brakes when you go down because the road is very steep and it requires a lot of braking.

In a Swarovski viewpoint you can use free of charge a telescope to see alpinists trying to reach the Grossglockner.
In a Swarovski viewpoint you can use free of charge a telescope to see alpinists trying to reach the Grossglockner.
Grossglockner
Grossglockner Glasier

Day 4: Hallstatt lake

HallstattWe have finally reached our prime destination. Already feeling the ache and the burn everywhere this small cozy, doll-like town made us forget it all. Simply by standing next to the still mirror- like lake surrounded by mountains gave you a sense of owe. It felt like time stood still.

Hallstatt is definitely not your usual town. The picture-perfect village has a very distinct look, with timeless old wooden houses unspoiled by commercial signs or international food chains. The place is manicured with flowers everywhere, surely kept by locals very proud of their gem. It was great to get lost in the streets 2-3 levels above the main road. Exploring this place was like a little adventure on its own. At each turn, there was a photo opportunity better than the last.

Hallstatt also offers a wide range of biking and hiking trails around the area. If you can muster the energy then I will definitely recommend you to do so, as Hallstatt looks even better from outside.

In the evening the clouds were low over Hallstatt and it really gave it the most mystical feel. We stopped for dinner at the lakeside pub to enjoy local delicatessen (wild boar and duck) and stayed there till the end sipping on the red wine whilst looking through the pictures taken by us earlier that day.

Hallstatt

Badgastein

Bad Gastein is one of these towns in Austria, that even Austrians adore. Not only because of the wonderful townscape, which is characterized by Belle Époque hotel buildings erected on the steep slopes, but also because of the many spa resorts and of course the various winter and summer activities. It is situated in the high valley of “Hohe Tauern”  mountain range, South Salzburg –probably one of the nicest areas in Austria.

I’m not going to lie we choose the hotel with amazing spa facilities. I thought that after 5 days of constant hiking, walking and exploring we deserved to relax in the mountain spa and so we did. The final day we spent visiting different saunas and steam rooms and massaging our way through the local spa facilities (not bad huh). In the evening we enjoyed sustainably caught trout and local schnitzel, of course, all washed down with bio red wine from Austria.

 It has quite cosmopolitan feel, despite being, in fact, a small village in the mountains.
It has quite cosmopolitan feel, despite being, in fact, a small village in the mountains.

So there you have it, folks! Some Austrian highlights for you. It was definitely a trip that I will remember, so many things are left unexplored. Surely will be coming for more.

Check back this week for more posts on Austria and the practical tips for travelling in this country. Like the [toppedwith ] facebook page to receive regular updates, or follow me on Instagram. Mucho Love…